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Community health and care review praises ‘proactive’ integrated Hartlepool services

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had praise for the relationship between councils and health services in Hartlepool as it continued its programme of 20 targeted reviews of integrated care.

The report, released today, looked into the increasingly important integration of health and care services, particularly between Hartlepool Borough Council and Hartlepool & Stockton-on-Tees CCG.

It found “positive examples of shared approaches and initiatives” in the area as a number of organisations dealt with patients in a “person-centred way.”

Inspectors had specific praise for the Hartlepool Matters report, which helped to identify the needs of local people and worked alongside other policies to present a cohesive vision and implementation for the area.

The organisation also highlighted the quality of prevention efforts in Hartlepool, with providers collectively focusing on keeping people in their own homes.

“Our review of Hartlepool’s services – and how they work together – has found some positive examples of shared approaches and initiatives that support people in Hartlepool to have timely access to services that meet their needs in a person-centred way,” explained Professor Steve Field, CQC chief inspector of primary care services. “The joint approach for people living with dementia is a good example of this.

“I am pleased to see that there have been proactive attempts to stabilise and improve capacity in the care market, although work is still required from system leaders to address the shortfall in care home provision for specialist beds for mental healthcare and end of life care.

“It is important that system leaders continue to develop their integrated approach and improve their working relationships beyond local partners and across the wider STP footprint to enhance system-wide alignment.”

There were some concerns raised by the review regarding the access older people had to local GP services, while nursing recruitment and retention were also mentioned as areas the region could improve.

However, for the most part the CQC was left with a positive impression, specifically in relation to the shared understanding different organisations had for each other’s challenges and goals.

The role of voluntary workers was also lauded by inspectors in what seems to be becoming an important part of the joined-up approach to care that is being implemented across the UK.

Integrated social care

The report was the latest in a range of reviews being done by the regulator, with services in Bracknell Forest, Berkshire, receiving credit last month for the mature approach to care taken between organisations.

The CQC has also announced that it will be conducting a further eight reviews into health and social care services following a request from health secretary Jeremy Hunt and communities secretary Sajid Javid.

The next reports will look at Bradford, Cumbria, Hampshire, Liverpool, Northamptonshire, Sheffield, Stockport and Wiltshire.

The relationship between local authority and NHS services has become a central point of discussion in the public sector, because so much of the staffing and financial resources available to organisations seems to be used inefficiently in the transfer of care.

Professor Bruce Keogh, outgoing NHS England national medical director, told PSE last month that he felt a single commissioning process was the future of the health service.

Following a visit to Greater Manchester to meet with Jon Rouse, GM Health and Social Care Partnership chief officer, Keogh called for a more joined-up approach which would see services sharing goals and challenges as well as potentially taking from the same funding pots.


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